T is for Thorny Devil Lizard Facts : A-Z of Really Cool Animals

Thorny Devil Lizard Facts

A-Z Collection of Really Cool Animals

T is for Thorny Devil Lizard

The thorny devil lizard is also known as the thorny dragon or the mountain devil. Its scientific name is (Moloch horridus), with horridus loosely translated as rough or bristly, or dreadful. The thorny devil lizard is native to Australia, living in the arid scrublands and desert of the interior of the continent. Other names given to this lizard are “Devil Lizard”, “Thorny Devil”, “Horned Lizard”, and the “Thorny Toad”. Read on for some fascinating Thorny Devil Lizard facts.

Thorny Devil Lizard Facts:

  • The Thorny devil lizard is covered in conical, uncalcified spikes, which cover the entire upper side of the body. These spikes are used to defend itself against predators. It has two large horned scales on its head to complete the illusion of a dragon or a devil.
  • The thorny dragon features a spiny knob-like, soft tissue appendage, sometimes called a “false head” on the back of its neck, which it presents to potential predators by dipping its real head down between its forelegs, leaving the false head where its real head used to be.
  • Thorny devils have another defense mechanism in which they inflate their chests with air to make themselves flatten out like a pancake, making themselves look bigger and harder to swallow.

T is for Thorny Devil Lizard Facts : A-Z of Really Cool Animals

Thorny Devil Lizard Facts:

The thorny devil has an unusual gait, which involves walking slowly, frequent stopping in place (freezing), and rocking back and forth before moving on (similar to chameleons? What You Need to Know) as it moves about slowly in search of food, water, and mates. The movements appear shaky.

This lizard grows up to 8 inches (20 cm) in length. The females are larger than the males.

It collects moisture in the dry desert by the condensation of dew on its body at night, during rare rainfalls, or by brushing up against dew-coated grass and overhanging plants. The collected moisture gets channeled to its mouth via grooves between their spikes through capillary action, allowing the thorny dragon to suck water from all over its body.

T is for Thorny Devil Lizard Facts : A-Z Collection of Really Cool Animals

Thorny Devil Lizard Facts:

  • Thorny devil lizards eat only ants. They can eat thousands of small, black ants in a single day. They will find a feeding site and then sit and wait for their prey to pass in front of them, capturing the ants with their sticky tongues.
  • Thorny devil lizards don’t like to poop where they eat, bask, or sleep, and will have a particular site that they will use for several days.
  • They can change color, going to a lighter pale yellow and red in warm weather, and to darker colors in cold weather. They will go through this process throughout the day, changing with the sun, the temperature, and activity levels.
  • Thorny devils are almost completely inactive during the hottest summer months (January and February) and the coldest winter months (June and July) when they take refuge in underground burrows.

T is for Thorny Devil Lizard Facts : A-Z Collection of Really Cool Animals

Thorny Devil Lizard Facts:

  • Thorny devils are active in the autumn (March, April, and May) as well as the later winter through early summer (August – December), during which they mate and lay eggs.
  • The females lay a clutch of three to ten eggs which are put in a nesting burrow about 12 inches (30 cm) underground. The eggs hatch after about three to four months.
  • Predators of the thorny devil lizard include wild birds and goannas.
  • Thorny devils can live to between six and 20 years.

T is for Thorny Devil Lizard Facts : A-Z Collection of Really Cool Animals

SOURCES for T is for Thorny Devil Lizard Facts:  National Geographic  ♦  Wired.com

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8 thoughts on “T is for Thorny Devil Lizard Facts : A-Z of Really Cool Animals”

  1. I think Florida could use to introduce this lizard to the state to help fight and combat ants naturally. As ants thrive in the Florida dirt and sand.

  2. Jeanne, I think he’s adorable! Eats up to 3000 ants at a time! Fun video and post – I used to collect horned lizards (they always go loose) as a kid – I like them! So cute 🙂 And obviously needed

    • That cool, Donna, that you used to collect them as a kid. I never had that opportunity, but I would have too, if I could have. For me it was little grass snakes. Thanks for visiting, and for your comment too! Always much appreciated. 🙂

  3. That is soooo cool! I especially love the picture of the person holding it up in their hand – and it’s legs are spread out like “LOOK AT MEEEE!” LOL! 😉


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